The musical lineup for the 25th anniversary Summer Motion celebration has been set. Rockers Loverboy and country music legends Sawyer Brown are scheduled to play along with Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. and rock icons Styx in addition to several notable local and regional acts, according to Summer Motion President Cade Mahan.
“We’ve got our lineup complete for the 25th year of Summer Motion with Loverboy on the (July) 3rd and following up on the (July) 4th with headliner Sawyer Brown and Styx on Friday the (July) 5th,” Mahan said Thursday afternoon. “And, we are really excited to have Landau on Saturday the (July) 6th in the park with a full band plus a nine-piece horn section. We feared he would be out of our price range, but I had a personal connection and we had a friend make a call to his management and they said, ‘Sure. Let’s do it!’”
Loverboy is best known for hit songs including “Workin’ for the Weekend,” “Turn Me Loose” and “The Kid Is Hot Tonight.” Sawyer Brown, who became a sensation after appearing on the TV show Star Search, is known for hits including “Leona,” “Step That Step,” “Used to Blue” and “Betty’s Bein’ Bad.”
Mahan, an Ashland native and 1991 graduate of Paul G. Blazer High School who is serving his first year as Summer Motion president after acting as a volunteer and board member for nearly a decade, said the pressure of the position is living up to his expectations. Explaining his own job as kitchen manager and assistant general manager at the Ashland Applebee’s restaurant allows only limited opportunities to return phone calls or conduct face-to-face meetings, Mahan gave full credit to the 26 members of the Summer Motion board of directors.
“It’s been a challenge. I will say I have struggled,” Mahan said, acknowledging he often works 10-to-12-hour days and has a 2-year-old son who doesn’t always understand why his dad has to leave for meetings on his days off. Summer Motion’s board members, “are just outstanding. They make my job and my position so much easier,” he said.
Fundraising has probably been the single greatest challenge of the job, Mahan said.
“I’m still trying to round up sponsors. We could still use some help. Summer Motion is 100 percent sponsor driven. We need all the support we can get from the community,” he said.
Mahan said he is personally looking forward to the Styx concert during Summer Motion, and feels the board was able to secure entertainers who need little or no introduction.
“With it being the 25th year for Summer Motion, we all agreed we didn’t want to have to explain any acts,” he said, acknowledging the festival’s previous succes in finding up-and-coming acts, such as Lady Antebellum a couple of years back, who have since gone on to considerable fame and fortune in the music industry.
“Most anyone who is 30-something or up will be familiar with names like Styx and Loverboy,” he said, adding Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. has a proven track record in Ashland after selling out a series of concerts at the Paramount Arts Center. “Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know who Landau is.”
Mahan said he is also proud of the local and regional acts scheduled to perform as opening acts for the headliners, as well as special performances by Cletus T. Judd, who will also serve as a master of ceremonies, as well as a stage show by “The Mayberry Deputy,” David Browning on July 4.
Mahan noted a few of the Summer Motion commemorative “Mayberry Deputy” bobblehead dolls will also be sold at this year’s festival. Special 25th anniversary T-shirts featuring the name of every headline band from the past quarter century will also be sold, and a special exhibit of Summer Motion items will be part of an exhibit at Highlands Museum & Discovery Center that opens June 6 and continues until the festival is finished.
“Larry Whitt and Blue Eyed Soul will be opening for Loverboy. An Ashland native who now lives in Nashville, Michael Moore, and his band Southern Push will open for Sawyer Brown and a great band called The Chase will open for Styx,” he said, adding the Texaco Country Showdown will also be at Central Park on festival Saturday, and Sunday’s entertainment will be bluegrass and bluegrass-gospel by The Joe Freeman Band.
Mahan said anyone interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities is encouraged to call him at (606) 571-9709.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2651.